3rd annual meeting to discuss implementation of EU financial assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina held in Sarajevo

The 3rd meeting of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) Monitoring Committee took place on 15 May 2018 in Sarajevo. The meeting, co-chaired by Mr Edin Dilberović, National IPA Coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mr Georg Ziegler, Deputy Head of Unit for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, gathered a large number of stakeholders from all levels of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s administration, the European Commission as well as representatives of EU Member States as observers.

The meeting reviewed the progress achieved and the challenges faced in the programming and implementation of EU-funded support to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the sectors of democracy and governance, rule of law and fundamental rights, competitiveness and innovation, environment as well as education, employment and social policies. Participants also discussed plans for EU support in the period 2018-2020, following the mid-term review of the Indicative Strategy Paper for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the work of the National Investment Committee on investments in infrastructure projects.

While the various stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed that that there is room for complementarity between the existing IPA coordination structures and the coordination mechanism on EU matters, no immediate solution was reached on how to organise this in practice. The European Commission reiterated that it can accept any arrangement found internally in the country as long as it does not contradict the IPA Framework Agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Commission, which is the legal basis for IPA structures.

The Commission called on the authorities to urgently reach a decision in order to ensure the smooth programming of IPA assistance in the upcoming 2019 cycle. All parties concurred that a workable solution needs to be found swiftly.

The need to increase the involvement of the civil society in planning and monitoring implementation of EU support was agreed in the meeting, as well as to strengthen the capacity building of institutions responsible for those sectors supported by EU funds.

Finally, it was highlighted that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities and the EU will jointly work on communication on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration process.